Marcella Hazan has long been considered the Godmother of Italian cuisine. Her Master Classes, once taught in her Venice home, and her five previous cookbooks all have served to elevate her to the heights of expertise when it comes to Italian cooking. She even married a fellow Italian food and wine authority. Now her forty-plus years of cooking wisdom and classic recipes are available to food lovers and self-proclaimed kitchen wizards everywhere in Marcella Says…, an informative, user-friendly guide to creating authentic Italian dishes from the simple to the extraordinary.
Using this book is like having your own personal slice of Italy right in your kitchen. Filled with tips, trivia and delectable recipes, Marcella Says… is more than just a “how-to” cookbook. We learn not only about Marcella’s own history as she began studying Chinese cooking early in her career and later found her true calling with Italian cuisine. She talks about the concept of insaporire, or “making tasty,” for which there is no English word equivalent. This concept is at the root of great cooking, and Marcella shares this and so much more of her wisdom and experience on subjects such as the correct use of heat, the proper choice of ingredients, knowing when a food is truly “done,” choosing the best type of frying fats, making a basic broth, soaking beans to perfection, and how to properly cook pastas. All this before even launching into her masterful and detailed recipes and cooking tips for everything from the pasta to veal to mushrooms to shellfish, soups, pork dishes, beef, sauces, fillings, salads and desserts.
Every recipe comes not just with a list of ingredients and detailed instructions but with a personal touch of insight that makes putting a dish together such a vivid and lush experience and a truly sensual art. Marcella’s Master Class techniques are evident throughout in such offerings as Sicilian Pesto, Seafood Risotti with Vegetables, Pork and Savoy Cabbage Loaf, Fennel and Orange Salad, Neapolitan Squash Pudding with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts, and dozens more of mouth-watering and easy-to-make recipes that will turn even a cooking newbie into a gourmet chef. In fact, one of the highlights of this book is the fact that although many of the meals sound quite difficult to make (or even pronounce, thank God for the English translations!), Marcella explains them in such a way that even I could master them. And, as Nixon once said, let me make this perfectly clear - I CANNOT COOK TO SAVE MY LIFE.
As a person of Italian origin, I found this book to be part cooking manual, part exploration of the divine nature of Italian food and cuisine, but you don’t have to be Italian to enjoy the wonderful recipes and benefit from the “class in your own kitchen” that Marcella Says… truly is. With so much expert wisdom and insight at your fingertips, even you, dear reader, can make Fricasseed Chicken Asti Style with Pancetta, Sweet Bell Peppers, Herbs and Anchovies, and follow it off with a nice bottle of wine and some Lemon Spumone, and your friends and neighbors will think you should have your own show on the Food Channel.
Marcella Says… features 120 recipes in all, but the love of cooking this book will inspire is unlimited.